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Zeilin I (Destroyer No. 313)


Jacob Zeilin, born in Philadelphia, Pa., on 16 July 1806, entered the Marine Corps as a 2nd lieutenant on 1 October 1831 after several years of study at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. By 1836, he reached the rank of 1st lieutenant. Between 1845 and 1848, Lt. Zeilin cruised in Columbus and Congress. During the Mexican War, he commanded the Marine Guard embarked in Congress, which was attached to Commodore Robert F. Stockton's force. He took part in the conquest of California and was brevetted to the rank of major for gallantry during the action at the San Gabriel River crossing on 9 January 1847. Later, he took part in the capture of Los Angeles and in the Battle of La Mesa. In 1847, Zeilin served as military commandant at San Diego and, in September, served with the forces that captured Guaymas and those that met the enemy at San Jose on the 30th. For the remainder of the war, Mazatlan was his center of activity, and he fought in several skirmishes with the Mexicans in that area.

After the Mexican War, Zeilin served with the Marine Guard in Mississippi in which he cruised to Japan with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's expedition. Following that duty, various assignments ashore occupied his time until the outbreak of the Civil War. On 21 July 1861, Zeilin commanded a company of marines during the First Battle of Manassas and received a slight wound.

Later, he went to sea again, serving with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral Dahlgren. In 1864, Zeilin assumed command of the Marine Barracks at Portsmouth, N.H. That June, he was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps in the rank of colonel. In 1874, Zeilin became the Marine Corps' first general officer when he was prompted to brigadier general. Brigadier General Zeilin retired from the Marine Corps on 1 November 1876. Four years later, on 18 November 1880, he died at Washington, D.C.


(DD-313: displacement 1,215 (normal); length 314'4"; beam 30'1"; draft 9'9" (aft); speed 33 knots; complement 95; armament 4 4-inch, 1 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Clemson)

The unnamed Destroyer No. 313 was laid down on 20 February 1919 at San Francisco, Calif., by the Union Plant of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp.; named Zeilin (Destroyer No. 313) in General Order No. 475 of 15 May 1919, launched on 28 May 1919; sponsored by Mrs. William P. [Frances] Lindley, wife of Lt. Cmdr. William P. Lindley, USNRF, Assistant Inspector for Machinery for the Navy at the Union yard; reclassified to DD-313 on 17 July 1920; and commissioned on 10 December 1920 at her building yard, Lt. Cmdr. James D. Moore in command.

Following shakedown, Zeilin reported for duty with Division 33, Squadron 11, Destroyers, Battle Force, based at San Diego, Calif. For the next nine years, she operated out of that port, conducting maneuvers with the fleet and training with independent ships. In July 1923, she suffered damage in a collision with Henderson (AP-1) in Puget Sound but, after repairs, resumed duty with the Battle Force Destroyers.

Decommissioned at San Diego on 22 January 1930, Zeilin was stricken from the Navy list on 8 July 1930. Scrapped later the same year, her materials were sold on 20 December 1930.  

Raymond A. Mann

Updated, 21 March 2024

Published: Thu Mar 21 18:23:13 EDT 2024